Russia on Tuesday unveiled a statue of Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47 assault rifle that became by some estimates the most lethal weapon ever made and the best known Russian brand abroad.
Perched atop a pedestal in a tiny square on Moscow's busy Garden Ring thoroughfare, the statue of Kalashnikov, who died in 2013, has him dressed in a bomber jacket and clutching an AK-47 in both hands.
"I created a weapon for the defense of my fatherland," runs a Kalashnikov quote hewn on the pedestal. At the unveiling ceremony, a Kremlin guard of honor stood to attention as Russia's national anthem played.
"This weapon is Russia's defense. It's one of Russia's symbols. Alas, for life to continue, for lovely children to grow up, for beautiful women in Russia, there must be a weapon," the monument's sculptor, Salavat Shcherbakov, told reporters.
The AK-47, the small-arms mainstay of Russia's armed forces for over 60 years, is also featured on the national emblems of several African nations and on that of East Timor.
Every fifth firearm in the world is a Kalashnikov and more than 70 million of the assault rifles have been produced over the past 60 years. Kalashnikovs are in service in 50 foreign armies, it said.
Military experts say the AK-47 has killed more people than all other types of modern weapons taken together.
Kalashnikov, who died aged 94, had repeatedly said that pride in his invention was mixed with the pain of seeing it used by criminals and child soldiers.
Source NBC News